Body Heat

Director: Lawrence Kasdan

Cast: William Hurt, Kathleen Turner, Richard Crenna, Ted Danson, J. A. Preston, Mickey Rourke, Kim Zimmer, Jane Hallaren, Lanna Saunders, Carola McGuinness, Michael Ryan, Larry Marko, Deborah Lucchesi, Lynn Hallowell, Thom Sharp, Ruth Thom, Diane Lewis, Robert Traynor, Meg Kasdan, Ruth P. Strahan, Filomena Triscari, Bruce A. Lee

Ned Racine (Hurt) approaches a beautiful woman on a walkway by the sea in Miranda Beach, Florida. It’s a hot summer night and she tells him she’s a married woman, but her husband is out of town. She lives in upscale Pinehaven, on the waterway. She sends him to get some water and when he returns she’s gone. Ned tracks her down a few nights later at Pinehaven Tavern. Matty Walker (Turner) lets Ned buy her a drink and tells him about the chimes on her verandah. They touch for the first time. Her husband is away on business, as he often is, and she agrees to let Ned visit her house to hear her chimes. She drives an S-class Mercedes and he follows her home in his ten-year-old Corvette. Her house is large and luxuriously furnished. Matty is totally unconvincing when she asks him to leave after he’s heard the musical chimes. They make love, and start a torrid affair. Ned is a small-town lawyer with mediocre legal skills, but with an outgoing personality and good looks that attract Miranda Beach’s available women. He does not tell his buddies, District Attorney Peter Lowenstein (Danson) and police detective Oscar Grace (Preston), of his affair with Matty, but they sense there’s a new woman in his life. One night Ned walks into a trendy restaurant that he can seldom afford, and meets Matty and her husband, Edmund Walker (Crenna). Edmund is a financier that has amassed a fortune by discretely investing funds for shady enterprises. One night, arriving at Matty’s house after Edmund leaves town, Ned meets Mary Ann Simpson (Zimmer), an old friend of Matty who is passing through town and who immediately senses the feelings between Ned and Matty. Matty tells Ned that she does not like her husband, that he’s small and mean and weak. She then says that they should not talk about these things, that it’s dangerous, that she wishes Edward would die. She wishes she could leave him, so she and Ned could be together. But there’s a prenuptial agreement, and if she divorces him all she would get is a year’s living allowance. They soon develop a plan to kill Edward. Ned enlists the help of Teddy Lewis (Rourke), one of his shadier clients and an expert on incendiary devices. Ned establishes an elaborate alibi, and one foggy night, he and Matty kill Edward and take his body to an abandoned building. Ned uses a device designed by Teddy to cause a delayed fire and conceal the details of Edward’s death. The killing seems to have gone well, until a question about Edward’s will emerges, and someone begins feeding the prosecutor’s office bits of incriminating evidence. Reluctantly, Ned’s friends, Peter and Oscar, begin to follow the emerging signs of wrongdoing. Things happen that make Ned begin to wonder if Matty’s motives are as they appear. Matty will do whatever it takes to get what she wants, even if it places her and Ned in an even more dangerous situation. Elegant cinematography by Richard H. Kline. Loosely based on the novella Double Indemnity by James M. Cain.

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